Virgin is perhaps the world’s most unusual collection of businesses, but it has certainly become an iconic brand. From music stores to cell phones, from airlines to space travel, the red Virgin logo seems to pop up all over the place. Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City has partnered with the brand to bring the Virgin Online Casino to players in New Jersey.
So, just how does the Virgin casino stack up to the competition? Let’s take an in-depth look…
The Virgin brand epitomizes cool, and their NJ casino delivers on appearance and cool factor. Table games are well represented here, with several versions available only here and the sister site Tropicana. In slots and video poker, the game selection is more limited. They offer some excellent titles. I just wish there were more of them.
The Virgin lobby is simple and clean, showcasing a dozen games and allowing easy access to the full listings.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Solid slot options from several major developers
As the online casinos in New Jersey have started to expand their offerings, most of the casinos are now providing games from several different developers. Virgin has done that as well, but they are still behind in the race.
For now, Virgin offers slots from IGT, High 5, Williams, and Gamesys. Plus they have one game from developer Bally. Hopefully that means we will soon see more of Bally’s excellent catalog available at Virgin, but for now they only offer Bally’s Quick Hit Platinum game.
The usual classics from IGT
As a long-time staple on casino floors, the main games from IGT will be quite familiar to slot fans… Games like Cleopatra, Siberian Storm, and Wolf Run are among the standards you will find here, along with some licensed brands like Super Monopoly Money, and Ghostbusters.
Those IGT games are actually offered at several of the online casinos in New Jersey, and players pretty much know what to expect of them. The graphics and sound are always top-notch, and that makes for a very enjoyable time playing them.
And some soon-to-be classics from Gamesys
It’s more interesting to look at what happens once you stray from the well-known titles into the proprietary games from Gamesys. It’s here where Virgin shines. I found the Gamesys games to be interesting and well implemented, so you will find some gems among titles that are probably not familiar to you yet. Check out games like Secrets of the Phoenix, Tiki Island, and Wonderland. Each is a well-crafted game with innovative bonus features.
Table Games? Solid game play, decent selection
In an earlier version of this review, I was indifferent about the table game selection here, but now I think it is one of the best features for the casino. It’s not that Virgin added more games; it’s that several other casinos have actually removed games instead. Virgin’s inventory may not include anything out of the ordinary, but they do a good job with the basics. Virgin offers six types of table games : Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Hi-Lo, Pai Gow Poker, and Keno (not technically a table game, but we’ll count it here anyway!).
And the implementation of each is excellent. The software came from Gamesys, and there is a lot to like about it. The games feature nice animations and sound. There are several useful button choices: “Repeat and Deal”, “Double and Deal”, and “Let Em Ride” to parlay your winnings.
One feature that I definitely appreciated is the “In Play” indication in blackjack, which clearly shows which hand is currently being played. Some competing software makes this less obvious, which can lead to errors when you play split hands or on multi-hand tables. You won’t have that problem at Virgin.
In general, for each of the table games at Virgin, the game controls are obvious enough that you can relax and just play. And, after all, isn’t that what you want in an online table game?
Roulette and Blackjack Variants
Both of the roulette versions feature a single zero wheel, so that’s good. The betting limits are $0.10 to $1000 on the regular version, and $10 to $4000 in High Stakes Roulette.
For blackjack, Virgin offers three versions, with bets from $1 to $1000:
- Single Deck Blackjack: This is the highest return game at 99.74%.1 Deck, Dealer Stands on All 17s, No Dealer Hole Card, Double on 9,10,11 only, No Double After Split, Split only once, No Surrender.
- Atlantic City Blackjack: This is also a good game, with a return of 99.64%.8 Decks, Dealer Stands on All 17s, Dealer Does Take a Hole Card, Double Any 2 Cards, Double After Split, Split up to three times, Late Surrender.
- Multihand Blackjack: This version offers a lower return at 99.24%.5 Decks, Dealer Stands on All 17s, No Dealer Hole Card, Double on 9,10,11 Only, No Double After Split, Split only once, No Surrender.
You can play from one to five hands on this game. (Playing multiple hands is the only reason to choose this game, as the return is quite a bit lower.)
It’s important to note that both the Single Deck and the Multihand Blackjack do not deal a hole card to the dealer. These “European No Hole Card” games mean that you risk losing double and split bets to a dealer blackjack. As a result, you should not double or split against a dealer ten or Ace in these games, with one exception… Still split AA vs ten. If you fail to adjust your strategy in this way, your return will be lower than those I stated. (For a free and accurate strategy, see the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. Just make sure you set the rules appropriately.)
Four Kinds of “Game King” Video Poker
The video poker choices at Virgin are limited to only four games. However, if I had to pick just four games to have, these would be the ones. The games are traditional IGT Game King games with good paytables.
- Jacks or Better (9/6 paytable): 99.54%
- Bonus Poker (8/5 paytable): 99.17%
- Double Bonus (9/7/5 paytable): 99.11%
- Double Double Bonus (9/6 paytable, with 1000 coin royal): 99.51%
The most popular video poker game in casinos is Double Double Bonus, and you get a nice little extra on this game at Virgin. The royal pays 1000x your bet instead of the usual 800. That’s means a typical $5 bet will get you a $5000 payout on a royal flush instead of the $4000 you would get at a typical land-based casino. Nice!
A $100 Real Cash Signup Bonus, sort of…
The Signup Bonus promotion at Virgin Casino is different than most of their competitors. The bonus is a loss rebate of up to $100. So, you play with your own money, and if you lose $100, they will refund it so you can try again or withdraw the cash.
You can think of this as a way to take a free shot. If you want all the details on how it works, and the best way to utilize it, see my recent article A Look at Virgin Casino’s Bonus Cash Offer. For my play, the bonus worked exactly like you would hope. I lost my starting money, but ended up turning the rebate into a withdrawal of $200. I hope your luck is the same!
Virgin’s brand is a hip and colorful one, and the Virgin casino website definitely has that vibe. Although the slot selection could use more titles, the mix is interesting, especially the Gamesys games that are hard to find elsewhere.
Table games are implemented well, and offer reasonable rules. In the video poker department, they offer only four games. But those four are easy to play and offer excellent paytables. I can live with that.
All in all, I give them a thumbs up. This is a good choice in the New Jersey online casino market. I think you’ll like it.